Language of sex
Many people find it hard to express their most intimate feelings and desires and it can be particularly difficult when that involves sex. When a relationship moves from romance to a sexual level there is a need to move the conversation onto the next level too. If the relationship is intimate enough for you and your partner to be having sex then it should be the kind of relationship in which you can discuss your sexual needs, desires and boundaries. However, this can be difficult conversational ground for people to navigate. The expressions and language we use for sex can be hard to say out loud without feeling self conscious or as if you have suddenly stepped into an erotic novel! The important thing is to remember your partner is equally likely to find this a difficult area to deal with. If you can be supportive and not judgmental, the chances are that your conversations about sex will help your relationship become even more sexually fulfilling.
The first step to good communication about sex is building the trust between you. In a relationship where you are equals and feel secure to express your thoughts, feelings and ideas without being made to feel a fool it is possible to have an intimate conversation with confidence. Once the relationship is strong enough for you to feel that sex is on the agenda it is essential to start talking to each other about it. Initially conversations about safety, birth control and sexual health issues are necessary, before you have moved on to your specific desires and fantasies. This may seem like a passion dampener but actually if you have the honesty and openness in the relationship to have those initial conversations it is easier to talk about your personal sexual preferences in the future.
All sexual relationships, whether new or old, need to make space for conversations about what is working, and what is not, in the bedroom. New relationships involve discovering what you each enjoy. Have fun exploring the new ideas that come from two different people becoming intimate with one another and the excitement which accompanies that period of experimentation. It helps to keep an open mind and explore the trust in the relationship but always be clear if there are certain sexual acts which are an absolute no-go.
Keep the passion alive
In longer term sexual relationships it helps to remind each other from time to time of what it is you really enjoy and to try a few new things to keep the passion alive. Try to keep the spark alive by continuing to explore and grow sexually together. If something is not working be clear with your partner but try to break it to them gently. The chances are, if something is working, they will already have realized! The important thing is to maintain the conversation, try to have some fun when talking about sex and to create an environment where honesty and trust bring rewards in the bedroom.
Sex Alert! Does size really matter?
This is a question which has preoccupied men for generations! There are those who believe that size is everything and that women can only be satisfied by men with more penis than personality. Ask most women and they would disagree wholeheartedly with this view. Sometimes the best things come in small packages! The difference between men and women’s attitudes to sex may be at the root of this divergence of opinion. It is certainly true that men of all shapes and sizes enjoy fulfilling sexual relationships with their partners.
No matter what size or shape your partner is the core of a fulfilling sexual relationship is building the trust, respect and communication needed to enjoy each other physically and emotionally. Personality and a healthy relationship are central to this and so it is far more important that partners focus on building the best relationship they can rather than dwelling on questions of size or appearance. Most sexual relationships require emotional needs, desires and fantasies to be shared and enjoyed together in order for sex to be truly fulfilling. For that to work it is the communication skills, not the physical attributes, of a partner that are important.
Most people are self conscious when naked and everyone worries about their appearance or parts of their body which they believe to be less than perfect. For those with particular concerns about how their physical size might affect their sex lives it is important to be honest and open with their partner. It is likely that size is irrelevant and that the passion and intensity of a sexual relationship is the most important factor for enjoyment. Remember there are many ways to arouse and excite each other and by trying different techniques and combinations of sexual stimulation it is likely that a satisfying sexual experience will be enjoyed by you both. Be prepared to give your partner feedback and accept it in return to ensure you are both pushing the right buttons.
By talking about what you both enjoy, what you might like to try and sharing fantasies there is a whole world of sexual exploration and enjoyment to discover. Finding ways to enhance each other’s pleasure and reach new levels of satisfaction helps to build a strong sexual relationship. Play-acting fantasies, sharing books which turn you on, buying sexy lingerie for your partner and setting the mood with music, drink and candles can all make a huge contribution to your partner’s enjoyment. They are all things which are easy to do, but may require a little planning ahead. If spontaneity is more your thing then suggest sex in the morning or in the shower as a surprise. The key thing with any sexual adventure is to keep the fun and sense of exploring your sexuality together. Your partner may well surprise you with what they find enjoyable or what they are willing to try. Remember, after all, it is not how big it is but what you do with it that counts!
The media is full of images of the ‘dream man’. If you believe the movies then all women are looking for a tall, muscular, beer swigging, big earning man with twinkly eyes and a sexy smile. In reality, men of all shapes and sizes with different personalities, strengths and incomes make great partners. Most people will admit that there is very little chance of finding a man who fits all their ideal criteria. However, there are usually a few criteria that are considered essential and less likely to be subject to compromise. Unfortunately, as society becomes more focused on external factors like how good looking someone is or what car they drive, it can become harder to remember the really important criteria like trustworthiness and fidelity when looking for a man.
See the person inside
For any relationship to spark into life a certain amount of physical attraction is needed, so physical appearance is certainly not irrelevant. Most people make a judgment based on a person’s appearance within a few seconds of meeting them so it is disingenuous to suggest looks are not important. However once an initial attraction has sparked, the process of getting to know someone should guide whether they are a good potential partner. It is hard not to let looks, charm, power or money influence your view of a man but it is very important to see beyond those things to the person underneath. If you have a clear idea of the intrinsic qualities you are looking for in a partner it may be a surprise what kind of ‘package’ that man comes in!
Personality on top
Everyone is looking for a different set of characteristics in their dream relationship but some qualities are pretty universal. For a relationship to be successful and fulfilling it is essential that you trust, respect and can communicate effectively with your partner. The personality traits which enable you to build a relationship like that will be different for everyone. Some people need opposite but complimentary personalities for a good partnership, others work better with likeminded folk who live life in a similar way.
Whatever the personality and package that your potential partner comes with, it is important to remember that all relationships require patience, good listening and communicating, consideration of each other and trust. At the start of a new relationship each partner should feel confident that the romance is going at a pace that suits both of you and that you can share moments of fun and sexiness but also some of the tougher emotional moments. If the new man in your life does not look like an action hero, drive a sports car or manage a multinational company it really does not matter as long as he makes you happy and treats you with the respect and loyalty you deserve.
Some people feel it is time for marriage and wish to make a public statement of commitment, before their partner is ready. This can be due to a wide range of different issues, values and beliefs. However, it can be difficult for both partners to know how to deal with the issue of marriage, without damaging the relationship, when they hold differing views on the pace of the journey towards making a lifetime commitment. Since marriage involves combining two people’s perspectives on key relationship issues it is essential to have ironed out common interests and goals before talking about rings, bridal wear and other wedding details. Important issues around money, sex, religious values, family and the role of marriage in modern society should be discussed before spending time gazing at engagement rings in the hope a disinterested partner ‘gets the hint’!
If the relationship is solid, built on trust and mutual respect, it should be natural that a discussion will take place about when, and if, marriage is right for you. When both partners have explored the important issues within the relationship and found common ground and respect for each other’s views it will be easier to have a conversation about marriage. Once a solid foundation is in place both partners are likely to let each other know if they feel ready for marriage so it is necessary to be patient. Some people take longer than others to feel comfortable with making a lifetime commitment.
It is important not to set an ultimatum. Marriage is something that should be a joint decision and a shared aspiration for both partners. There is no point emotionally blackmailing a partner into marriage as it is simply a recipe for an expensive divorce later. However, people who feel marriage before children is a very important issue should be very clear with their partner about that. Likewise if there is a short amount of time available in which to start a family, due to age or medical concerns, then be honest and open about the need for marriage first, if that is an important issue.
In a relationship where one partner has been waiting for a long time to be presented with a ring and proposal, it is important to be realistic about why it is taking a long time and pay attention to any relationship red flags. Is there an underlying reason why marriage has not been proposed? Does the relationship really have a solid base of trust, honesty and shared goals? If there are problems in the relationship, it is far better to address them before getting married, it may lead to some tough choices but it is always better to be honest with yourself and each other. If waiting for a marriage proposal is taking too much time be proactive, take a break and go out and find exactly what you are looking for. Remember if it is ‘meant to be‘ two loving people will find their way back together and build a relationship that is strong enough for the long run.
Husband alert: neglected husbands speak up! It may be worth you reminding your partner that men need attention too! Rather than letting things slowly decline it is far better for a husband to let his wife know if he feels he is at the bottom of her priority list. It is essential to communicate how you feel and take responsibility for the health of the marriage rather than letting frustrations build into resentment. For men to speak about their feelings often takes a great deal of courage so if your husband is telling you how he feels, he is asserting himself and he needs you to listen.
This is often an issue for women with children who are exhausted after a day of being a busy mom. Some women feel there is not enough mommy to go around and that they must prioritize the children at all times. Nevertheless, do not forget your man! Raising kids in a partnership that is fulfilling and supportive brings many benefits to your kids as well as your relationship. Some men feel they are not appreciated for the things they contribute to family life and that the expectations placed upon them grow all the time. So make sure your man knows that you appreciate what he contributes and that you value the experience of raising your children as a joint venture. Involve men in the decision-making, kid’s daily schedules and other areas of life you think they might find interesting. It is likely they are not only happy to contribute ideas and enjoy being involved, but can offer a useful alternative perspective. It is great for kids to see their parents working as a team, respecting and appreciating each other’s views and most of all having fun together!
Most men crave physical contact, so do not forget the hugs and kisses. It is simply not true that men are only interested in sexual intimacy; most men really appreciate a friendly squeeze or cheeky kiss from time to time to remind them they are not just “the person who takes out the trash can”. Schedule time together, make space for intimacy and remember to have some fun together. Find the common ground and passions that bring energy and enjoyment into your relationship and try to seek these out in areas where you are both committed to the activity rather than one party driving the whole process.
Women often describe indifference and failure to communicate as why their relationships are failing. However not all men have the skills they need to communicate their feelings. If this is the case, it is likely couples therapy could help. Sometimes all that is required is a simple change in priority of effort. Women are not mystifying creatures who make ever increasing demands and men are usually not purposefully hurtful. There is a need to recognize, discuss and address each other’s needs and different perspectives, and then there is a chance of building a mutually satisfying relationship. This is often far more straightforward than either partner imagines. Often it as simple as the couple realizing that the man’s need for physical contact is as great as his wife’s need to feel an emotional contact. A couple’s therapist may help those marriages where expressing feelings or changing priorities is challenging. By attending therapy together, you can demonstrate that you are investing in the relationship for the long term and willing to learn new skills to maintain each other’s happiness.
Technically a sexless marriage could be considered to be a marriage in trouble. This is unless both partners agree that this is the way they want things to be and are both happy in this knowledge. Stranger things have been known to happen.
Sigmund Freud said that the only abnormal sex is no sex at all, and we think this was one of the few things he was right about. It is possible to put the fire back into a marriage and go back to the Honeymoon phase.
A sexless marriage can cause problems and really does need to be managed.
Getting your spice back in the bedroom could be as simple as talking about it – communication can work wonders, or it may go deeper than that. ED (erectile dysfunction) and/or similar female loss of libido generally means a visit or two to the therapist, and or MD may be required. There are simple solutions available for most sex-related issues, whether physical or psychological, and no-one need feel embarrassed about discussing these matters with a professional. Healthy sexuality is just another part of overall health generally, and it’s about prioritizing your relationship.
Sometimes lack of sex is just as simple as – things get routine, and therefore stale. This means adding some spice into the marital bed. Just because you are married, what is to stop you from being creative? You get creative in every other room when it comes to interior décor, get creative in the bedroom too, and we don’t mean the color of the sheets, and drapes. Although if black satin floats your boat – well there you go!
Get those big bloomers off and slip into something slinky and skinny – if big bloomers are the real deal for you, at least purchase a few pairs in lace, or the edible type. The most important consideration is to get hubby surprised with a big night in; a hot and steamy affair that will leave him breath…less…ahh! By now you should know what he likes, multiply this by five.
Probably the most important thing to remember is the reason why you got married in the first place. There must have been something really special between you, and the point is to re-kindle this flame.
The same goes for the man in your life obviously; sitting around dressed in his wife-beater with a beer resting on his belly, while he watches TV is not exactly a turn-on. He needs to make sure he is well groomed, and how about bringing home a few flowers, scented candle, and bottle of bubbly? Tell her what you like and listen while she does the same – remember what we said about communicating? Don’t be afraid to try something different – sex is the way adults play and as long as it is by mutual consent, anything goes.
There are many things that can be done to inspire better more passionate sex, and add fuel to the fire; plan a romantic getaway, leave the children with gran. Dress up in a bunny suit (the Hugh Hefner kind), I just did that for Easter, and guess what? The Easter bunny came early!
Simply bring back the romance – a sexless marriage is on dangerous ground, and there are many ways to make love more exciting, but you have got to buy a ticket in it to win it.
On the matter of finding love once again following a divorce, initially most women have the same thoughts “what me? never again!” But never say ‘never’ as the saying goes, we believe everyone deserves to love and be loved, so, you have finished taking care of everyone else, it’s time to take care of yourself. Children eventually settle down to the idea of divorce – provided there are children involved -and there is everything right with rebuilding life, yes, even finding love once again.
Remember, we have just as much right to take time for ourselves, and laying the foundation for a post-divorce romance is something that many women do.
Firstly, statistics tell us that 75% of divorced people, re-marry within five years. Certainly these statistics indicate, that chances are we will become interested in finding a new lover, with a view to a long term relationship, no matter quite how we might feel right now. In order to learn from mistakes and make sure divorce does not happen a second or third time around, it is important to approach a new relationship, perhaps with some new ideas.
Someone once said; ‘failure is not one cataclysmic event, it is making the same mistakes over and over again’. If we think about this carefully, it’s actually quite true, so, we don’t want to go there again. Let’s consciously examine doing things differently, even before we start looking for Mr. Right.
Let us ask ourselves if we are ready and carefully consider this question: Readiness involves some vital facets, the most important being a self-care consideration – do we truly love ourselves? Emotional baggage and past issues should be left where they belong – in the past – and be recognized as such. And be completely honest – why do we want a relationship, and are we prepared to put in the hard work it takes to make the commitment for creating a loving relationship? Any sign of hesitation over these matters and we will know, we are not in the right space for love.
Laying the foundations for a post-divorce romance, means doing the groundwork required to encourage a healthy relationship. In order to love another person in the way they deserve to be loved, remember our priorities, give love to ourselves first. This means knowing who we are, acknowledging our self-worth, and being fully aware of our own strengths as well as our weaknesses. Liking ourselves as people first; on the inside and out, and being honest about this, will provide the skills to make good choices in life.
Any baggage from past relationships, unresolved childhood issues or other emotional trauma may affect the way we currently live. These matters must be addressed, and include emotional and or physical abuse, which have a nasty habit of creeping up when we least expect it. The sad fact of the matter is that a person who has been abused is likely to attract a partner who continues this pattern; this is just what we don’t want. Remember we are doing things differently this time – rebuilding our lives, not making the same mistakes again.
In instances where abuse has been present it is a great idea to seek out help. Seeing a qualified professional counselor, therapist or other qualified professional will help to work through these issues. Relationships are challenging enough when we don’t have problems, so, let’s level the foundations first, and start building from the foundation up.
Today, interracial and interfaith relationships and marriages have become more and more common in the United States. However they often bring with them a set of different problems that will need to be worked on in order for everyone involved to be able to celebrate the difference. With just a little bit of effort on everyone’s part, it can be done.
In order for the couple and the extended family to be able to celebrate the difference, it will take an extra measure of patience on everyone’s part. Many differences are so ingrained in a person’s personality that they may not even realize there is a difference. Each person needs to understand that the person from a different culture or religion doesn’t think and do things the same way they do. Allow them to be different without it becoming a problem.
Communication is the key to these types of relationships. You can understand each other better by sharing how your culture thinks about certain things and asking the other person about their culture. Talk things over instead of becoming offended because someone does something different than you do.
Help the person who is from a different country or religion learn the differences between their culture and beliefs and those of your country or family. This is especially important if what the person is doing is offensive in your culture. It will be necessary for you to be thoughtful and considerate of the new culture as well.
Solve Problems and Conflicts
As you form a marriage or a relationship, gradually work through your differences. Decide which things you will keep as part of your new family and which ones will be left behind. If your marriage is successful, both of you will have to give in this area.
Don’t Be Offended
Be broad minded enough not to become offended when your husband does something you don’t do. Learn to laugh with each other when differences come up. Discuss the differences and determine how you will handle them.
Study the Other Culture or Religion
Learn all you can about your partner’s way of life and religion. Understanding where he is coming from and why he is saying what he is, helps you to converse in a way that draws you closer together. Make things that aren’t offensive to you a part of your life as well.
Sample Food From Both Cultures
Try the food from the other person’s country. Choose the dishes from each culture that both of you enjoy, and plan your meals around them. If one of you don’t like a dish and the other one does, serve that dish when the other person isn’t present.
Be Considerate of In-laws
Remember that you cannot force your family’s ideals on your in-laws. Be considerate of their beliefs and way of life when you visit them. When you return home, you can do things the way you and your partner have agreed is best for your family.
“Till death do us part” as a marriage vow seems to no longer have the same meaning in our world of quick-fixes. Fast food, fast marriages, even faster divorces; what happened to celebrating and honoring the serious commitment in the meaning of Marriage Vows? Many couples in their 70′s and 80′s still honor the words “till death do us part”, and they manage to do this with the most incredible affection, togetherness and grace.
There are many dictionary definitions for the word “commitment”, which makes it understandable that perhaps it means many different things to different people. The definition I liked best was from McMillan ~ ‘enthusiasm for something and a determination to work hard at it’. However in another definition from Merriam-Webster we find commitment meaning ~ ‘consignment to a penal or mental institution’. Same word, two completely conflicting meanings; a marriage should not make any one partner feel as though they have been locked away.
40, 50, 60….or more years ago, people did not even use the word commitment in relationship to a marriage. Marriage was what it was – the official, religious or personal sanction between two people – which took place as part of the celebration of them being in love. Couples knew that going into a marriage would be hard work – this was a given. Generally speaking most couples started with very little and worked together to build a life and a home, based on the strong foundation of their love for one-another. Everyone knew what they were in for; right from the very beginning, there was no easy way out.
Yes, marriage should be a lifetime commitment, so we celebrate love in the 70′s and 80′s, and married couples who have honored the institution of marriage. Couples who have worked hard to stay in love.
By working hard at a marriage, we don’t mean hard labor or putting up with abuse, we mean making the effort to remain connected – this is not easy. A couple in love has chemistry in the beginning; this is what attracts them to one-another on a primordial level. If that chemistry remained without both marriage partners consciously working at being in love, there might be no such thing as divorce, so, chemistry can be fleeting. Holding hands, kissing, flirting, sharing humor, trust, intimacy, yes, and sex too if that’s what floats your boat; all of these and much more matter in a new relationship, and they matter in lasting relationships too.
There is good, there is bad, there is ugly in every relationship, it is how we deal with the bad and the ugly that strengthens people’s love for one another, the good stuff is a no-brainer. Working through the tough times together and being on the same page strengthens bonds and makes for successful, loving, lasting relationships. The type of relationship where loving couples want to grow old together, and in fact could not imagine ever being apart.
Love is good for us all, we live longer for it, it increases the bond within families, and familial support. It keeps the blood pressure down, but the heart pumping strong, and hey…the more lasting love we have in this increasingly disposable society, the better it is for humanity as a whole. So, let’s celebrate love in the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s – till death do us part.
Infidelity is a subject that an unfortunate many American couples deal with every year. Although the figures are difficult to trust (due to the basic shame and inherent dishonesty of the subject, which isn’t exactly conducive to truthful survey responses), the numbers we have are pretty disheartening: around 53% of married people admit to cheating on their spouses, either physically or emotionally, and often those marriages end in divorce. However, it isn’t a foregone conclusion – some couples try to soldier on through the pain and betrayal, to rebuild the trust in their marriage and become partners again. This is a long, hard road to follow and isn’t always successful, but just as divorce isn’t a foregone conclusion, neither is failure to reconcile.
Infidelity: What and Why
In our modern age, infidelity isn’t only defined by the sex with someone who isn’t your spouse. Cheating has taken on whole new meanings: to some people, “sexting” and internet or phone affairs of the heart and mind can be just as damning as physical relations with someone else. It is all about betrayal: betrayal of what most people feel is a sacred trust between partners.
Even for those who don’t look at marriage from a religious perspective find that they have a hard time trusting their cheating spouse again in any way, with that mistrust inveigling itself into every aspect of their lives. The victimized spouse is suspicious and angry, always questioning the cheater: where have they been? What have they been doing? Who were they with? The cheater, in turn, who is often truly remorseful and wants to change and for things to work out, then feels persecuted and resentful. It is a vicious cycle that even the most determined couples find difficult to break.
Why do people cheat? This is important to understand when trying to recover from this kind of betrayal. “Why?” Is one of the most frequent questions the injured spouse asks, trying to figure out what made their lover stray. Most infidelity is, in some way, linked to low self-esteem. A poor self-image or lack of self-love leads to all manner of internal ills, ranging from eating disorders to addictions to self-destructive behaviors such as cheating. Others have poor physical self-control or narcissistic tendencies, where they believe that they are entitled to what they want, even at the risk of hurting someone who they actually love. Still others were never truly committed to the relationship for whatever reason, otherwise they would not have been willing to undermine or destroy it so easily.
Getting to the Other Side
Partners who have endured infidelity often find that their marriage is never the same as it was before the cheating – the innocence has been lost. However, that does not necessarily have to mean the death of the relationship. This hard time can lead to better marital habits, as the spouses try to work through the problems that led to the infidelity in the first place. They can grow and mature both as individuals and as a couple, and emerge on the other side of the trauma with stronger marriages and self-images.
One of the biggest tools couples have to help them to crawl out of the pit of despair and to help them begin their lives again is therapy. However, just like anything, you get what you put into it. If you choose to follow the counseling route, it is wise to invest in both individual and couples’ sessions. Why? Because each partner will have their own issues to hash out, and sometimes it is best to do this hashing in the presence on someone non-judgmental and “safe.”
Also, going into therapy with a counter-productive agenda (“I’m going to make him confess everything!”) or without real commitment to the process (“I’ll do it to get her off my back”) is basically the kiss of death. Go into therapy with an open heart and mind, and make the most of it that you can. You never know if it can help. Even if, in the end, your marriage fails anyway, a good therapist can help you to explore your emotional responses, trust and commitment issues, and other areas that can benefit from honest examination and self-work – so perhaps your next relationship will succeed.
Aside from counseling, what are some things that couples can do to begin rebuilding that trust?
- Accept the blame if it’s yours to take – and if it’s not, try to understand what happened.
- Don’t live in the past. If you were cheated on, dwelling on the details, the nasty “what, when and where” of the affair, will only increase the resentment, anger and sense of betrayal, and makes it harder to get past the past.
- In order to be trusted, be trustworthy. Be accountable, don’t lie, be completely transparent and open, volunteer information, and be respectful of the other partner’s space and privacy.
- Do things together to encourage trust and bonding, even if it seems “cheesy.” Ropes courses and other physical trust exercises are excellent for this, as are couples’ workshops.
- If you are the one who strayed, enlist an accountability partner to help keep you “in check,” or join a support group. Just as alcoholics and other addicts benefit from support and accountability, so do those who have infidelity problems.
- Court your spouse. Although it may seem hard to understand and be awkward at first, you must take steps to attempt to inject some romance and new “stories” into your relationship. By making date nights, going on weekends away, bringing flowers, writing love notes, taking walks together, etc., can bring back some of the old spark.
Infidelity is often the worst thing a couple can pass through together. Neither party emerges unscathed, and the relationship will never be the same. However, infidelity doesn’t spell the end of a partnership. The trust that once was shared and shattered can be rebuilt. This takes some time and shouldn’t be pushed, but eventually, with communication and work, a marriage can blossom and evolve into something new. You can start out as enemies and emerge from the darkness as partners again, perhaps even stronger and wiser than you were before.